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Horsemeat is Everywhere, Including IKEA

Horsemeat is Everywhere, Including IKEA

At the beginning of the year, the European Union was hit in the proverbial gut with a scandal that called into question, what, exactly, was everyone eating? After all of the concern and safeguards put into place after the Mad Cow scare of the 1990s, you would think that the European meat supply would be safe and free of any mislabeling. Think again. In early January samples of, what was believed to be, beef were shown to contain sizable bits of horsemeat. The horse-gate crisis has since expanded to a dozen countries in the EU (with no sign yet of making an appearance in the U.S. but I wouldn’t doubt it) and has set the powers that be in the EU reeling.

Now, the populist modular furniture brand IKEA finds itself embroiled in the controversy with news this week that reveals that some of their ever-popular Swedish meatballs have horsemeat in them. Granted the findings were limited to an IKEA in the Czech Republic, but seemingly the damage is done.

Those of us that don’t eat meat may just dismiss the whole controversy as a case of splitting farm animal hairs (and some of those that do eat meat may not care one iota). However, the health and safety standards in the EU for raising cattle, compared to those of raising horses, are quite different. Because horses are generally not raised for human consumption, they are subject to different standards and exposures to medicines, chemicals, and pathogens. Therefore, even if eating a hamburger is barely considered safe in your book, a horsemeat burger is likely even less safe. While all of this is going on, European nations have stepped up DNA tests of meat products to determine their provenance, and these are producing more unwelcome discoveries every week, and likely weeks to come.

What is your feeling on such findings? Does the fact that the EU (which is traditionally more stringent and progressive than the U.S. in these matters) has failed its public create more concern, or less, for those of us that live in the U.S. as well as other countries? And if we are already eating meat, is horsemeat all that much worse?

(If you want to tell the EU that you stand against horsemeat, feel free to sign the petition below the related stories.)

Related:
Is it Calamari or Pig Bung?
(Re)Consider the Egg
Is Horsemeat Just Too Much to Stomach for Most Americans?

Read more: Animal Rights, Blogs, Following Food, Food, News & Issues, , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

255 comments

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11:55AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_meat americans export live horses to Canada and from there they are shipped, live, in containers, overseas, terrified. when they arrive in Belgium, France, Italy, Afghanistan (the latest huge importer) they are slaughtered

8:59AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

thanks for sharing

12:28PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

I feel bad for the poor horses.

9:34PM PST on Mar 9, 2013

As a child I never thought the meat I was eating was the same -lamb I used see- going by cattle train to the abbattoirs and being upset about,I am now of course a vegetarian and am sorry my mother didn't bring me up as one-today- I am horrified that anyone can eat animals -especially -baby ones -lamb -baby pigs and the little bobby calves-for veal-whose lives are so short and miserable,and now -horses ,I know not everyone thinks as I do -I have come to this conclusion after seeing the daily horrors these animals have to endure-death to them is a happy -release -we all have to make choices in life and mine is to never add to the abject misery of any animal that is processed for food to- me adding the beautiful -magnificent -horse to the menu is a betrayal by -man for all they have done and do for -mankind.

4:36AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

that's why we should avoid eating food (in restaurants/fast food) that's made of chopped meat... you never know what's in it!!!!!!!!

3:16AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

The only concern I have is are these former race horses that have been injected with drugs, but it does indicate a problem with how companies outsource work, even thhough these are subcontractors to contractors, inspections should still be made.

2:49AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Pamela W., I wasn't addressing YOU......have you ever considered minding your own business? James is not a new contributor to these discussions and I am familiar with his comments. Maybe he IS a childrens' doctor but that proves nothing as far as his knowledge of nutrition and certainly nothing on the topic. You accuse ME of an unwarranted attack? You might re-read your own comment. You've had it in for me since you joined this site, and it all started over my addressing "Pamela" and not you specifically "enough". You even called me a liar when I said I had a "Pam W" as a personal friend in Care2. Please just stop. Your personal opinion of ME as a member is not relevant to anything.

Now, getting back ON the topic, Pogle, Roy Rogers had his horse STUFFED so if you're going to insinuate that a singing TV cowboy's approach to loving his horse is relevant to this discussion, I guess I'd disagree. The Lone Ranger also didn't give a rip about Silver, since the actor who played him didn't own him, couldn't ride very well and was not a horse person. He was an ACTOR.

2:24AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Sorry for the omission in previous post - the Greek for child (pais paid) seems to have got lost somewhere !!!

2:14AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

My apologies to other members, as this is "off subject" but this unwarranted attack needs redressing ...........

Diane L .....
"James, if you were really a pediatrician, I'd think you'd be able to spell the word"

Diane, the beginning of your comment to James was totally OUT OF ORDER !!!!!
By what "right" do you place in doubt his statement of his occupation ??? Who do you think you are ???? ............For your information Diane ...........
James' spelling of the word PAEDIATRICIAN is correct as the word's origin comes from the Greek meaning child. The letter "i" was transformed to an "e" when first used in the English language BUT the letter "a" was not dropped (in ENGLISH). Many English words have had their spelling "modified" by other english-speaking countries (notably USA) but that does NOT make the original English version of them incorrect !!! You will find "your" spelling of the word "pediatric" listed in any "decent" English dictionary BUT followed by a referral to the entry under the correct spelling !!!!! So, if you're such a "stickler" for accuracy, might I suggest you check YOUR facts, before criticizing others ????????

1:50AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

"Why do you need to chew on a dead anmal's butt"........Shar F., Dale aleady addressed your post, but I wanted to add that remarks such as this one are not going to "convert" those of us who are now omnivores. You think you wlll disgust us with terminology/phrasing like that? Yeah, you do, but not in the way you thought. What I find dsgusting is such a silly attempt to do so in the first place. Just so you know, none of us chews on a dead animal's butt unless we're a lion or a tiger. We chew meat from various parts of animals, including the shoulder, loin and legs. Maybe you might look up Pamela Anderson's rather amusing PETA ad where she painted herself with cow body part names.

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